Child marriage most often occurs in poor, rural communities. In many regions, parents arrange their daughter’s marriage unbeknownst to the girl. That can mean that one day, she may be at home playing with her siblings, and the next, she’s married off and sent to live in another village with her husband and his family – strangers, essentially. She is pulled out of school. She is separated from her peers. And once married, she is more likely to be a victim of domestic violence and suffer health complications associated with early sexual activity and childbearing.
ICRW’s early research provided a deeper understanding of the scope, causes and consequences of child marriage. Now, our experts are focused on how to prevent – and ultimately end – the practice.
The National Federation of Women's Institutes (UK) launches a report into violence against women and legal aid to coincide with the report stage of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill (31 October). Throughout the report, victims of domestic violence reiterate how access to legal aid secured their safety and protection in often life-threatening circumstances.
Fewer countries made strides toward improving equality between men and women in 2011, while Nordic countries held the top spots, according to a ranking of 135 nations by the World Economic Forum.
From the article:
Fewer countries made strides toward improving equality between men and women this year, while Nordic countries held the top spots, according to a ranking of 135 nations by the World Economic Forum.
Iceland claimed the No. 1 position for the third year in a row, followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden, in the 2011 Global Gender Gap Index released today by the Geneva-based group. Of the countries surveyed, 55 percent narrowed the gender gap, compared with 59 percent the previous year, while 85 percent improved gender-equality ratios since the first survey in 2006.
“Women make up one-half of the brain power of the human capital that’s available to an economy,” Saadia Zahidi, head of the World Economic Forum’s Women Leaders and Gender Parity program and co-author of the report, said in an interview. “If that one-half is not fully integrated into a particular country’s development and into its development over time, it’s fairly evident that there would be a detrimental effect.”
The survey measures the difference between men’s and women’s economic participation and opportunities, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment. While differences in health and education are disappearing, women still lag behind in economic participation, which includes salaried and skilled jobs, and political representation, according to the report.
“Labor-force participation is where the success starts to drop off,” said Laura D’Andrea Tyson, a co-author of the report and professor at the University of California-Berkley, during a press briefing today about the study in New York.
The Global Gender Gap Index, introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006, is a framework for capturing the magnitude and scope of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress. The Index benchmarks national gender gaps on economic, political, education- and health-based criteria, and provides country rankings that allow for effective comparisons across regions and income groups, and over time. The rankings are designed to create greater awareness among a global audience of the challenges posed by gender gaps and the opportunities created by reducing them. The methodology and quantitative analysis behind the rankings are intended to serve as a basis for designing effective measures for reducing gender gaps.
A study published in Psychological Science looks at 57 countries and finds that an individual’s sexism leads to gender inequality in the society as a whole—not surprising, but it is the largest study to find this relationship.
Individual beliefs don’t stay confined to the person who has them; they can affect how a society functions. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, looks at 57 countries and finds that an individual’s sexism leads to gender inequality in the society as a whole—not surprising, but it is the largest study to find this relationship.
“I’m interested in the consequences people’s beliefs about how the world should work and how the world does work,” says Mark Brandt of DePaul University, the author of the new study. For this study on sexism, he used data from an international survey conducted between 2005 and 2007. The survey included two statements to measure sexism: “On the whole, men make better political leaders than women do” and “On the whole, men make better business executives than women do.” He also used a United Nations measure of gender inequality, from the year the sexism question was asked and from 2009.
Brandt found that sexism was directly associated with increases in gender inequality overtime.
“You could get the impression that having sexist beliefs, or prejudiced beliefs more generally, is just an individual thing—‘my beliefs don’t impact you,’” Brandt says. But this study shows that isn’t true. If individual people in a society are sexist, men and women in that society become less equal.
“Gender inequality is such a tough beast to crack because there are so many contributing factors,” Brandt says. Policies can contribute to inequality—and some countries have insured some measure of equality by mandating that some number of seats in the legislature be reserved for women. But this study suggests that if the goal is increased equality, individual attitudes have to change.
Theory predicts that individuals’ sexism serves to exacerbate inequality in their society’s gender hierarchy. Past research, however, has provided only correlational evidence to support this hypothesis. In this study, I analyzed a large longitudinal data set that included representative data from 57 societies. Multilevel modeling showed that sexism directly predicted increases in gender inequality. This study provides the first evidence that sexist ideologies can create gender inequality within societies, and this finding suggests that sexism not only legitimizes the societal status quo, but also actively enhances the severity of the gender hierarchy. Three potential mechanisms for this effect are discussed briefly.
'Because I am a Girl: The State of the World’s Girls 2011 - So, what about boys?’ is the fifth in a series of annual reports published by Plan examining the rights of girls throughout their childhood, adolescence and as young women.
The report shows that far from being an issue just for women and girls, gender is also about boys and men, and that this needs to be better understood if we are going to have a positive impact on societies and economies.
Drawing on research and case studies, the report argues that working for equality must involve men and boys both as holders of power and as a group that is also suffering the consequences of negative gender stereotypes.
It also makes recommendations for action, showing policy makers and planners what can make a real difference to girls’ lives all over the world.
Report by GSMA (Groupe Speciale Mobile Association) and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women
300 Million Fewer Female than Male Subscribers: A US$13 Billion Opportunity
Mobile phone ownership in low and middle-income countries has skyrocketed in the past several years. But a woman is still 21% less likely to own a mobile phone than a man. This figure increases to 23% if she lives in in Africa, 24% if she lives in the Middle East, and 37% if she lives in South Asia. Closing this gender gap would bring the benefits of mobile phones to an additional 300 million women. By extending the benefits of mobile phone ownership to more women, a host of social and economic goals can be advanced.
Nine in Ten Women Feel Safer Because of Their Mobile Phones
Ten years on from the start of the western intervention in Afghanistan, Afghan women are facing an uncertain future. Women have strived for and made important gains since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, including in political participation and access to education, but these gains are fragile and reversible. As security deteriorates across the country, violence against women is also on the rise. Both the Afghan and US governments are attempting to engage in parallel talks with the Taliban to reach a political solution to the conflict before the international military forces withdraw by the end of 2014.
Published: 3 October 2011
Louise Hancock, Oxfam Policy Advisor; Orzala Ashraf Nemat, Afghan academic
Ten years on from the start of the western intervention in Afghanistan, Afghan women are facing an uncertain future. Women have strived for and made important gains since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, including in political participation and access to education, but these gains are fragile and reversible.
As security deteriorates across the country, violence against women is also on the rise. Both the Afghan and US governments are attempting to engage in parallel talks with the Taliban to reach a political solution to the conflict before the international military forces withdraw by the end of 2014.
The assassination of the government’s top peace broker, former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, in September 2011 underscores how difficult peace and reconciliation will be to achieve in Afghanistan. There are no shortcuts to peace in Afghanistan. The only way forward is a transparent and inclusive peace process which involves representatives from all parts of Afghan society, including women. The more that women feel involved in and committed to a political settlement which safeguards their rights, the more likely they are, within their families and communities, to promote changes in attitude and genuine reconciliation – essential for a lasting peace.
Western leaders have a responsibility toward Afghan women, not least because protection of women’s rights was sold as a positive outcome of the international intervention in October 2001. In this report – ‘A Place at the Table: Safeguarding women’s rights in Afghanistan’, co-authored with well-known Afghan academic Orzala Ashraf Nemat, Oxfam warns that women’s hard won gains are fragile and could slip away. It stresses that women could face a dangerous future after 2014, if the US, UK and the Afghan government sideline them in the search for peace. At the 10th anniversary of the intervention, Oxfam calls on world leaders not to sacrifice the hard-won gains that Afghan women have made.
The Afghan government and the international community must ensure women’s rights are not sacrificed and make a genuine commitment to meaningful participation of women in all phases and levels of any peace processes.
The Afghan government must enhance efforts to increase representation of women in elected bodies and government institutions at all levels to 30 per cent; encourage religious leaders to speak out on women’s rights in Islam; and intensify efforts to promote female access to education, health, justice, and other basic services.
The Afghan government must improve awareness of women’s rights and human rights law in the justice and security sector, and ensure effective implementation of these laws; and increase substantially women recruits in the security and justice sectors.
The international community must support expanded civic education programs to raise awareness of women’s rights at community level and support efforts to improve female leadership
The international community must intensify support to promote access to education and other key services, and ensure this support will continue at current or increased levels even as international military forces prepare to withdraw.
The UN must continue to monitor all government actions including the peace processes and provide increased support to the Afghan government on all negotiation, reconciliation, and reintegration processes.
The Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 was awarded on Friday to three women from Africa and the Arab world in acknowledgment of their nonviolent role in promoting peace, democracy and gender equality. The winners were President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia — the first woman to be elected president in modern Africa — her compatriot, the peace activist Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkol Karman of Yemen, a pro-democracy campaigner.